Apprenticeship Myths

Myth 1: Only unions or large single employers can be "sponsors" or have apprenticeship standards.

:  Some examples of sponsors include community-based organizations, individual small employers, consortiums, colleges & universities, local workforce areas, industry associations, committees, municipalities, prison systems, and the military.

Myth 2: All apprenticeship programs take 4 years to complete. One size fits all.


  • Apprenticeships can be Time based, Competency based, or a hybrid of those.
  • Existing time-based programs can be modified by 25% without requiring new registration.
  • For competency based programs, the program needs to be a minimum 2,000 hours but can be more if needed.
  • Apprentices can receive credit for previous experience.
  • Registered Apprenticeship is flexible and can be customized to meet the needs of every type of business.
  • The training and education delivery, as well as the length of the program, can all be customized.
    • For example, the on-the-job training component of the Registered Apprenticeship can be tailored to the specific skill requirements of a single company. This allows for training to be specific to the needs of that business.
Myth 3: Registering an apprenticeship program is too bureaucratic, extensive, and difficult.


  • The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Apprenticeship has established apprenticeships in over 1,000 occupations in a variety of industries.
  • These are already vetted by industry.
  • There are existing templates, core pieces, & the 75% rule applies, meaning as long as a company or intermediary uses 75% of the standards, it does not need to go through the vetting process again.
  • Closely related occupations with registered apprenticeship standards can be used to quickly register a new program.
    For new occupations, the process includes:
    • Obtaining an O*Net Code and outline the occupation
    • Build the on-the-job-training (OJT) and related instruction (RI) pieces
    • Vet and verify the OJT and RI with 5-8 entities nationally
    • Submit these to Standards and National Industry Promotion – OA National Office Division
Myth 4: Apprenticeships work best for construction and manufacturing occupations only.

: Programs are established, or can be established, in many industries, including:

  • Energy
  • Automotive
  • Financial Services 
  • Geospatial
  • Hospitality
  • Retail Trade
  • Transportation
  • Aerospace
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Biotechnology
  • Health Services
  • Construction
  • Information Technology 
  • Homeland Security
Myth 5: Apprenticeships are only for young staff or recruiting new staff. Current employees cannot participate in apprenticeship programs.

: Apprenticeships are, in fact, open to all age groups (post 16), and they can be beneficial career wise even for an employee with years of experience. A large percentage of apprentices are 28 years or older.

Myth 6: Registered Apprenticeship Programs are too costly. If I collaborate with other companies on a Registered Apprenticeship, employees will go to one of those companies.

:  Approximately, 91% of workers who complete a Registered Apprenticeship Program remain employed with the company where they completed the Registered Apprenticeship. This investment leads to higher productivity, lower turnover, and less recruitment costs.

The risk of doing nothing is a far greater risk than possibly losing skilled workers to other companies. Building a larger pool of skilled workers is advantageous for all employers

Myth 7: Becoming an apprentice means choosing between work or college.

Reality:  Apprentices may earn college certificates or two-year associates degrees during their apprenticeships and go on to earn four-year degrees (often free of debt).

Myth 8: Apprenticeships are for people who don't do well at school, are not academic, failed at school, or are college dropouts.

Reality: Apprenticeships are simply an alternative route into skilled employment. They are a great way to earn while you learn, gain vital work experience and set yourself on a fast-track to a successful career.